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Resources for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Alcohol and Pregnancy

Alcohol consumption by the mother is a leading cause of preventable birth defects in the fetus. In addition, the risk for miscarriage and stillbirth increases with alcohol consumption.

Anatomy: Fetus in Utero

A thin-walled sac surrounds the fetus during pregnancy. The sac is filled with amniotic fluid, which protects the fetus from injury.

Warning Signs During Pregnancy

Call your health care provider immediately if you have bleeding from the vagina, blurry vision, severe headaches, or other specific symptoms.

Medical Conditions and Pregnancy

With proper medical care, most women can enjoy a healthy pregnancy, despite medical challenges such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Delivery

In preparation of the delivery, you may be moved into a birthing room or delivery room, or you may remain in the same room for both labor and delivery.

Illegal Drug Use and Pregnancy

Almost every drug passes from the mother's bloodstream through the placenta to the fetus. Illicit substances that cause drug dependence and addiction in the mother also cause the fetus to become addicted.

Calculating a Due Date

First, determine the first day of your last menstrual period. Next, count back three calendar months and add one year and seven days to that date.

Exercise During Pregnancy

If you exercised before pregnancy, you can safely continue exercising. If you were inactive or you have medical complications, talk with your doctor before beginning to exercise.

Mastitis

Detailed information on breastfeeding and mastitis

First Trimester

A healthy first trimester is crucial to the normal development of your baby. You may not be showing much on the outside, but inside, all the major body organs and systems of the fetus are forming.

Hormones During Pregnancy

Many hormone levels are affected in the body during pregnancy, with several hormones playing major roles.

Home Page - Pregnancy and Childbirth

Detailed information on pregnancy and childbirth, including information on birth statistics, pregnancy planning, preconception care, prenatal care, pregnancy discomforts, pregnancy tests, pregnancy risks, pregnancy warning signs, labor and delivery, breas

Labor

Labor usually starts two weeks before or after the estimated date of delivery. No one knows exactly what triggers the onset of labor.

Medications and Pregnancy

All medications you take affect the fetus, depending on the stage of development, the type and dosage of the medication being taken, and your drug tolerance.

The Pregnant Mother

Detailed information for the pregnant mother, including information on hormones during pregnancy, weight gain during pregnancy, nutrition during pregnancy, exercise during pregnancy, work and pregnancy, sex during pregnancy, and sleeping positions during

Nutrition During Pregnancy

Not only is eating nutritious food good for you and your baby, it also can ease some of the discomforts of pregnancy. A balanced diet can help minimize symptoms such as nausea and constipation.

Planning a Pregnancy

Planning ahead and taking care of yourself before becoming pregnant is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.

Postpartum Care

Detailed information on caring for the mother physically and emotionally following childbirth, including information on postpartum depression

Pregnancy

Detailed information on pregnancy and childbirth, including information on birth statistics, pregnancy planning, preconception care, prenatal care, pregnancy discomforts, pregnancy tests, pregnancy risks, pregnancy warning signs, labor and delivery, breas

Prenatal Medical Care

It may seem like you are having a lot of appointments, but regular visits to your doctor are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. You and your growing baby will be carefully monitored, with tests done to assess any potential risks and develop a treatment plan, if needed.

Risks to Pregnancy

Detailed information on the most common risks to pregnancy, including information on alcohol and pregnancy, smoking and pregnancy, drugs and pregnancy, medications during pregnancy, and pre-existing conditions and pregnancy

Second Trimester

During this trimester, the weight of your growing baby will multiply more than seven times—and you will start showing more.

Sex During Pregnancy

In most cases, sex during pregnancy is safe. In fact, with your doctor's approval, sexual relations can continue until delivery.

Topic Index - Pregnancy and Childbirth

Detailed information on pregnancy and childbirth, including information on birth statistics, pregnancy planning, preconception care, prenatal care, pregnancy discomforts, pregnancy tests, pregnancy risks, pregnancy warning signs, labor and delivery, breas

Sleeping During Pregnancy

The best sleeping position for you is on your side, especially the left side, because it allows for maximum blood flow to the fetus and improves your kidney function.

Smoking and Pregnancy

Don't smoke during your pregnancy and limit how much time you spend in environments where there is secondhand smoke.

Common Tests During Pregnancy

Certain tests and screenings may be scheduled during your pregnancy. Your health care provider will advise you on which tests you'll need.

Third Trimester

The third trimester marks the home stretch for your pregnancy. You may feel more uncomfortable now as you continue to gain weight. You also may have false labor contractions (called Braxton-Hicks contractions).

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Average weight gain for women is between 25 and 35 pounds, although slight deviations from this may also be considered normal.

Work and Pregnancy

Most women are able to work safely, in some cases, until the day of delivery, depending on the type of work performed and their condition.

Multiple Pregnancy

Detailed information on multiple pregnancies, including care of multiple birth babies

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Multiple Pregnancy

Every pregnant woman feels like she’s getting big, but if you’re pregnant with two or more babies, you’ll really be growing fast. Be prepared by learning the signs of a multiple birth.

Complications of Multiple Pregnancy

Having more than one baby is especially exciting—and complicated. Find out what to watch for, including a greater chance of anemia and preterm birth.

Care of the Baby in the Delivery Room

A newborn baby is wet from the amniotic fluid and can easily become cold. Drying the baby and using warm blankets and heat lamps can help prevent heat loss. Often a knitted hat is placed on the baby's head.

Bottle-Feeding

Detailed information on bottle-feeding, including information on the different types of baby formula

Breast Milk Is the Best Milk

Your milk contains just the right balance of nutrients, and it contains them in a form most easily used by the human baby's immature body systems.

Breastfeeding Difficulties - Baby

Detailed information on breastfeeding difficulties of the baby, including ineffective latch-on, ineffective sucking, slow infant weight gain, poor infant weight gain, mismanaged breastfeeding, over-active breast milk let down

Breastfeeding Difficulties - Mother

Detailed information on breastfeeding difficulties of the mother, including sore nipples, low breast milk production, flat nipples, plugged milk ducts, and mastitis

Breastfeeding Your Baby

Detailed information on breastfeeding, including information on breast milk, starting breastfeeding, breast milk production, effective breastfeeding, breastfeeding difficulties, sore nipples, insufficient breast milk production, delayed breast milk production, low breast milk production, flat nipples, inverted nipples, plugged milk ducts, mastitis, breastfeeding latch-on difficulties, and poor infant weight gain

Effective Breastfeeding

Think there’s only one way to breast-feed? Think again! Moms can position their babies in several positions during feeding time that can be comfortable for both.

Effective Sucking

It’s important for your baby’s health to be able to effectively remove milk from your breast during nursing. To do this, your baby must learn the proper way to suck. But how do you know if your baby is actually getting the nutrition he/she needs? Here’s a guide to help you.

Breastfeeding: Getting Started

The first weeks of breastfeeding should be considered a learning period for both you and your baby. Don't expect to work as a coordinated team immediately.

How Milk Is Made

Detailed information on how breast milk is made for breastfeeding

Mismanaged Breastfeeding

Detailed information on mismanaged breastfeeding, including information on breastfeeding positions

Overactive Let-Down

Many nursing mothers worry if their babies aren’t getting enough milk—but what if the opposite were true? Here’s what you can do to make sure your aren’t overwhelming your baby during feeding time.

Newborn Multiples

Because many multiples are small and born early, they may be initially cared for in a special care nursery called the neonatal intensive care unit.

Plugged Milk Ducts

For mothers who breastfeed, some may be more susceptible to plugged ducts than others. Get some quick tips on how to avoid and manage this concern, so you can keep you and your baby happy and healthy!

Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain

Are you concerned that your little one has slow or poor weight gain? Unsure? This article will help you sort out your questions and concerns.

Sore Nipples

Detailed information on breastfeeding and sore nipples
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